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Ottawa, 12 December 2013

By e-mail: regulatory@bell.aliant.ca

Mr. Denis Henry
Vice-President – Regulatory, Government Affairs and Public Law
Bell Aliant Regional Communications, L.P.
Floor 19
160 Elgin Street
Ottawa, Ontario K2P 2C4

Re: application 2013-1693-5

Dear Mr. Henry:

This is in reference to Bell Aliant Regional Communications Inc., (the general partner), as well as limited partner with 6583458 Canada Inc. (the limited partners), carrying on business as Bell Aliant Regional Communications, Limited Partnership’s (Bell Aliant) application to amend its conditions of licence for its Atlantic regional broadcasting licence for the purpose of providing the flexibility to allocate a portion of its local expression contributions to community programming delivered via an Internet platform in a live streaming format.

Please provide responses to the questions included in the appendix to this letter.

Bell Aliant is required to provide these responses, which will be added to the public record, by 8 January 2014.

Considering the above request, the deadline to submit interventions will be extended until 29 January 2014.

The Commission requires that you submit your documents electronically using the secured service, “My CRTC Account” (Partner Log In or GCKey), and fill in the “Broadcasting and Telecom Cover page” located on this web page. You will also find a link to information on the submission of applications to the Commission: “Submitting applications and other documents to the CRTC using My CRTC Account.”

A copy of this letter and all related correspondence will be added to the public record of the proceeding.

Yours sincerely,

Original signed by

Donna Gill
Senior Manager
Distribution Regulatory Policy

1. The proposed conditions of licence are worded in such a way that the community programming could be placed entirely on either the video-on-demand (VOD) service or the Internet portal.

a) Does Bell Aliant intend to place most or all of its programming on its Internet portal and eventually move away from offering community programming on a linear and / or a VOD basis?

b) Should the intent be to migrate all of Bell Aliant’s community programming to the Internet only, approximately what percentage of its broadcasting distribution undertaking subscribers, i.e., those who choose not to subscribe to an Internet service or those who do not have access to high-speed Internet services, would be left without access to the community channel?

2. Although Bell Aliant currently operates a community channel on a linear basis in the Atlantic provinces, we note that the application only refers to the VOD service and the Internet portal. The application does not explain whether the contribution to local expression would be divided among all three platforms.

Please confirm whether the allowable contribution to local expression would only be directed to the VOD service and the Internet portal.

3. At paragraph 4 of the application, Bell Aliant indicates that it is proposing to allocate up to 10% of the community programming funds available from each of its licensed areas within Atlantic Canada for the production of community programming that would be made available for viewing on the Internet portal.

a) When Bell Aliant proposes to allocate up to 10% of the “community programming funds” for the production of community programming to be made available for viewing on its Internet portal, does this refer to 10% of the allowable contribution (i.e., 1.5%) to local expression made by Bell Aliant in the broadcast year? If not, please explain.

b) How will the remaining 90% of the community programming funds be divided between the linear and the VOD services in each of Bell Aliant’s licensed areas in the Atlantic provinces? Please provide, for each of the years remaining in the licence term, the projected amounts to be allocated to linear and VOD services separately.

c) Will Bell Aliant be maintaining the allocation of 10% of community programming funds to its Internet portal over the long term? Please comment on the possibility of the Commission imposing a condition of licence to that effect.

d) For each of Bell Aliant’s licensed areas in the Atlantic provinces, provide the annual projected amounts (for each of the years remaining in the licence term) to be allocated to the production of community programming on the Internet portal, broken down by type of expenditure (which should notably include access programming, original programming, equipment, servers, and other, if applicable).

Please note that, in the Appendix to Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2010-662-1, the Commission stated that the 50% access expenditure requirement will apply to the programming portion of community expenditures only. As such, technical, sales and promotion and administration and general expenses may not be included.

4. At paragraph 5, Bell Aliant notes that the content made available via the Internet portal would be supplemented / shared with the content available on the VOD platform.

a) Approximately which percentage of the programming intended for the VOD and for the Internet will be original programming and which percentage will be second-window programming? Provide this information as it would apply in each of Bell Aliant’s licensed areas in the Atlantic provinces for each of the years remaining in the licence term.

b) For both platforms, please indicate how many total hours this would represent for each licensed undertaking under the regional licence.

5. For all platforms that will be maintained (e.g., linear, VOD, Internet), provide a detailed annual breakdown of the programming on each of these platforms in each of Bell Aliant’s licensed areas in the Atlantic provinces for each of the years remaining in the licence term.

6. At paragraph 13, Bell Aliant indicates that it will commit to report annually on how it is operating the Internet-based programming in accordance with the provisions set out in the Community television policy, Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2010-622-1 (the Community television policy). We note that the policy already states that licensees are required to report annually to the Commission regarding local expression. It also specifies which of these requirements apply to the VOD and to new media (now known as digital media):

Video-on-demand
• Program hours made available through VOD during the reporting year
• Expenditures related to community programs broadcast through video-on-demand

Digital media
• Program hours streamed / made available (archived) on digital media during the reporting year
• Expenditures related to community programs broadcast on digital media

What additional information does Bell Aliant intend to provide in these annual reports other than what the Commission has already required?

7. We note that the requirements in question 6 above, as outlined in the Community television policy, are not currently included in the Commission’s reporting forms. As such, for comparative purposes, please provide the following:

• Program hours made available through VOD during the last reporting year
• Expenditures related to community programs broadcast through video-on-demand
• Program hours streamed / made available (archived) on digital media during the last reporting year
• Expenditures related to community programs broadcast on digital media

8. In Broadcasting Decision 2013-156, the Commission indicated that it would expect a licensee requesting amendments to certain of its conditions of licence in order to provide it with the flexibility to allocate a portion of its contributions to local expression to the broadcast of community programming over the Internet to provide details similar to those requested of Bell Aliant with respect to the distribution of a VOD-based outlet for local expression, as follows:
• the distinct local content provided by each licensed undertaking under the regional licence and the expenses made towards new and distinct programming provided by these undertakings, on a yearly basis;
• the amount and types of local community programming that are or will be available in each licensed area;
• the amount and types of community programming, other than local, that are or will be available in each licensed area;
• the amount and types of access programming that are or will be available in each licensed area (information with respect to expenditures and exhibition requirements for each undertaking);
• proposed accountability and reporting measures; and
• other related information regarding community programming (e.g., promotion of access programming initiatives and community outreach initiatives, information regarding volunteer participation and production facilities, and contact information for enquiries on access programming).
While Bell Aliant appears to have covered some of the information in its application, we note that it did not address in detail all of the above, specifically regarding the distinct local content and the amount and types of local and access programming in each licensed undertaking.

Therefore, if not already addressed in a previous question above, please elaborate on each of those first four bullets, ensuring that the information is provided for each licensed undertaking.

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